Screen readers: Two navigational links to follow.Skip to site navigation.Skip to page content.
The University of Iowa News Services
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release


April 24, 2009

University and Concert Bands will perform May 6

The University and Concert Bands from the University of Iowa School of Music will conclude their activities for the 2008-09 academic year with a joint concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 6, in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union.

Their joint concert will be free and open to the public.

The Concert Band is directed by Kevin Kastens, a member of the School of Music faculty who also leads the Hawkeye Marching Band during the fall semester. They will play four pieces:

--"Folk Festival" by Dmitri Shostakovich, music taken from the composer's film score for "The Gadfly" and transcribed for American concert band by Donald Hunsberger.
--"Postcard" by Frank Ticheli, with graduate student Duane Warfield as guest conductor.
--"To Tame The Perilous Skies," composed for the 564th Tactical Air Command Band of Langley Air Force Base, Va., by David Holsinger.
--"Americans We" march by Henry Fillmore, edited by Frederick Fennell.

"Postcard" was commissioned by Frank Ticheli's friend, colleague and former mentor, H. Robert Reynolds, in memory of his mother Ethel Virginia Curry. Ticheli writes: "He requested that I compose not an elegy commemorating her death, but a short energetic piece celebrating her life. In response I have composed this brief 'postcard' as a musical reflection of her character -- vibrant, whimsical, succinct."

Active for more than 50 years, Henry Fillmore probably wrote more band music -- much of it under assumed names to keep his name from flooding the market -- than just about any other band composer in history. Once when his professional band was giving a series of concerts in Cincinnati, Fillmore had a new composition but couldn't decide what to call it. He introduced it as "The Cincinnati Zoo" one day and "Pure Food and Health" the next. Realizing that it was probably his finest march, he finally published it in 1929 as "Americans We," dedicating it to "all of us."

The University Band is conducted by UI graduate teaching assistant Matthew Wanken. Their program for the concert will be:

--"Army of the Nile" by Kenneth J. Alford.
--"Cloudburst," a work by Eric Whitacre that was inspired by a thunderstorm the composer saw in Northern California, with graduate student Michael Hart as guest conductor.
--Three movements from James Curnow's "Canticle of the Creatures."
--"Hymn and Celebration" by UI alumnus Timothy Mahr.
--"American Riversongs" by Pierre La Plante.

Alford, the British march king best known to the American public as the composer of the "Colonel Bogey" march, wrote "Army of the Nile" as a tribute to a small group of British soldiers stationed in Northern Africa. In several decisive battles, these largely outnumbered soldiers were able to help defend Africa from Italian forces during World War II.

Mahr writes, "'Hymn and Celebration' was commissioned in memory of Bryan Bulgarelli by the Tipton (Iowa) High School Symphonic Band and its conductor, Mr. David Haaversen. The work begins with moments of quiet reverent introspection, from which an original hymn tune emerges. The piece slowly transforms into a festive celebration, ending optimistically with high spirits. The main idea behind the work, inspired by contemplating the life and character of Bryan, was to compose a piece that possesses a sense of ever increasing energy."

"American Riversongs" is based on several traditional American folk tunes that were popular when the rivers and waterways served as the highways of a growing nation. It includes "Down The River," a pensive version "Shenandoah," Stephen Forster's "The Glendy Burk" and a Creole bamboula tune that originated in the Louisiana delta region.

Kastens joined the UI faculty as director of the Hawkeye Marching Band in 1998. He also directs the Concert Band and teaches band arranging and marching band techniques. He has presented workshops and clinics and appeared as guest conductor throughout the Midwest and Canada. For more information visit

Two of the concert wind ensembles in the UI Band Department, the University and Concert Bands are open to UI students. They share the program for a concert at least once each semester. For more information on UI bands visit their Web page http://www/

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Visit the UI School of Music Web site at

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.


STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072 (office) 319-541-2846 (cell),